The Chalice Quilt

Made by slaves on the Mimosa Hall Plantation
Circa 1860, Marshall Texas
Pieced and quilted cotton, 221 cm x 191 cm

Quilting and weaving techniques can be traced back to African traditions and it is believed that some of the techniques used by the enslaved came from this cultural heritage. Some quilts were made to carry encoded messages for those attempting to escape the southern states for freedom in the north via the underground railroad.

This quilt was made by slaves on the Mimosa Hall Plantation in Marshall Texas, for the use of the Anglican bishop of New Orleans. Each year, the bishop would tour the region’s cotton plantations to perform baptisms and marriages. After the Bishop’s departure, the quilts made for his visits were given to slaves on the plantation.

© The American Museum in Britain (Bath, UK)

Accession reference: The American Museum in Britain (Bath, UK), 1983.172